Moral development
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Moral Development. Feldman Module 11-1. What is moral development?. Changes in thoughts, feelings and behaviors regarding standards of right and wrong Intrapersonal Interpersonal – regulates social interaction & arbitrates conflict. Is there Universal Morality?.

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Moral Development

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Moral Development

Feldman Module 11-1


What is moral development?

  • Changes in thoughts, feelings and behaviors regarding standards of right and wrong

  • Intrapersonal

  • Interpersonal – regulates social interaction & arbitrates conflict


Is there Universal Morality?

  • Yes, similar moral prescriptions are found in all major religions.

  • Civilizations will not success where there are no laws against murder, theft, and lies and no regulation of sexual behavior.


Does moral development require parental discipline?

  • Humanist Psychology says No - Hoffman (1970)

  • Cautions against Love withdrawal (anxiety)

    • Don’t like you; going to leave you

  • Cautions against Power assertion (hostility)

    • Spanking, threatening, removing privileges

    • Makes parents appear to have poor self-control

  • Recommends Induction

    • Reasoning, consequences

    • Works best with older children, middle SES


  • Other Psychologists Have Different Advice

    • Some strategies work better- Thompson

    • Warm-responsive parent-child relationships

      • Secure attachment linked to conscience development

  • Proactive strategies

  • Conversational dialogue

  • Other strategies –

    • Be a good role model

    • Foster an internal sense of morality

    • Tell them about expected behaviors

    • Use reason with punishment


  • Reasoning About Rules

    • Social Conventional Reasoning

    • Social rules & conventions are arbitrary & created by people

    • Moral Reasoning

    • Moral rules are obligatory, widely-accepted, and somewhat impersonal

      • Ethics exist apart from social convention


    Morality - Children & Rules

    • Turiel – 1978, 1983

    • 5-year-old children conceptualize the social world in three separate domains

      • Moral

      • Social-conventional

      • Psychological (personal)

    • They realize that the rules for each of these have different levels of changeability.


    Moral Behavior among Children

    • Factors (Behaviorist view)

      • Reinforcement & punishment

        • Depends upon consistency & timing

      • Models

        • Depends upon characteristics such as warmth & attractiveness

      • Situations

        • Children behave inconsistently depending upon peer pressure, likelihood of being caught, personal characteristics

      • Self-control

        • Convinced by reasoning, punishment


    Social-cognitive Theory of Morality

    • Albert Bandura

    • Moral competence – knowledge, capabilities, skills, awareness of rules

    • Moral performance – motivation, rewards, incentives

    • Self-regulation – avoiding self-condemnation and fostering self-satisfaction & self-worth


    Moral Emotion - Guilt

    • Sigmund Freud

      • The desire to avoid feeling guilty is the foundation of moral behavior.

      • Superego consists of:

        • Ego ideal – rewards by conveying a sense of pride and personal value

        • Conscience – punishes disapproved behaviors by making the child feel guilty & worthless


    Moral Emotion - Empathy

    • Responding to another’s feelings with a similar emotional response

    • Examples of development of empathy

      • Some infants show global empathy

      • 1-2 years, may feel discomfort but cannot translate into action

      • Early childhood – add perspective-taking

      • 10-12 may feel social or humanitarian empathy


    Kohlberg’s Theory

    • Heinz dilemma –

      • Wife near death

      • One drug might save her

      • Cost $200 to make; charged $2000

      • Heinz raised $1000, offered to pay later

      • Druggist said no

      • Heinz stole the drug


    Kohlberg’s Theory

    • Level 1: Preconventional

      • External rewards & punishments

    • Level 2: Conventional

      • Abide by internal standards of others (law or parents)

    • Level 3: Postconventional

      • Recognizes alternative codes, explores options, chooses one


    Kohlberg - Preconventional

    • Stage 1 – heteronomous

      • Moral thinking is tied to punishment

    • Stage 2 – individualism, instrumental purpose & exchange

      • “live & let live”

      • Equity of exchange: “I do you a favor; you do me one.”


    Kohlberg - Conventional

    • Stage 3: Mutual interpersonal expectations, relationships & interpersonal conformity

      • Value trust, caring & loyalty to others; children like “good girl; good boy”

    • Stage 4: Social systems morality

      • Understanding the social order, law, justice and duty


    Kohlberg – Post conventional

    • Stage 5: Social contract or utility and individual rights

      • Values, rights & principles undergird the law; laws are evaluated by how well they protect human rights & values

    • Stage 6: Universal ethical principles

      • Moral standard based on universal human rights; will follow conscience rather than law


    Kohlberg Stage 7?

    • Cosmic perspective

    • See one’s self as one with the universe

    • Already a religious position -

      • Hindu, New Age


    Kohlberg’s Critics

    • Link between moral thought & moral behavior?

    • Albert Bandura – people do not usually engage in harmful conduct until they have justified the morality of their actions to themselves

      • Socially worthy cause

      • God’s will


    Can Morality be Examined Apart from Religion?

    • Religion provides the assumptions which underpin moral reasoning and decisions.

    • Religion takes morality from individual to collective and universal.

    • Religion provides the authority for moral prescriptions.


    Kohlberg’s Critics

    • Rest –

      • Assessment techniques

      • What are the moral issues?

    • Stages 5 & 6 do not stand up across cultures

      • Example – Buddhist monks & emphasis on compassion

      • India – social rules are inevitable


    Kohlberg’s Critics

    • Haidt (2008)

      • Traditionalist [collectivist] societies expect individuals to limit their desires and play their roles within the group

    • “Western conservatives also seem to be morally challenged.”

    • Conclusion: Kolhberg has an individualist, liberal, progress bias.


    Kohlberg’s Critics

    • Carol Gilligan – gender bias

    • Justice perspective – male norm that puts principles above people

    • Care perspective – moral perspective that views people in terms of connectedness and emphasizes relationships & caring for others


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